GUEST BLOG: The Shocking Truth About Today’s Hotel Industry


After 3+ years as Chief Operating Officer of a fast moving, positively disrupting and creative Hospitality company, I decided to take a 4 month creative break spending my time travelling, searching for new inspiration, recharging and re-energising.

During the past 4 month I took 28 flights, travelled on boats, cars, motorbikes, jet skis, buses, bicycles and even horse carriage,  visited 9 countries, stayed at 15 different hotels, ate at countless restaurants, enjoyed delicious cocktails at a few too many bars, met amazing people and re-discovered the shocking truth about the world’s hospitality industry.

It is a slow moving dinosaur with too many ego driven Narcissistic Managers, who spend too much time fighting ground breaking disruptors such as AirBnB, waste energy protecting their own power, complaining about the demands of new generations  and limiting their teams abilities to please guests and deliver amazing experiences. It is full of boring and dated concepts that fail to understand todays traveller and their need for unique and effortless experiences.

Service Levels are shockingly bad due to an absence of TRUST in people. The ill founded belief that employees need to be controlled and restricted in their authority, instructed to follow orders and keep their mouth shut and their ideas to themselves.

Rather than identifying why so many people love new concepts such as AirBnB, they waste their Creativity looking for new ways how to control, and restrict.

The best service I experienced was from young, often inexperienced Millennials new to the industry, who still had ambition, dreams and an admirable energy full of an unspoiled mindset. In conversations I often found incredible understanding of what was needed, but how organisations failed to listen to them and even hindered them to perform better.

Truly successful and sustainable organisations understand that their main opportunity lies in their people and in their peoples ability to deliver outstanding service. Motivated teams will have low turnover and not disappoint as they want to be part of a unique and winning team. Winning companies will consistently challenge the norm, question constantly how to improve and drive change even when things seem to go well. They realise the distance that every amazing guest experience will go, how it will drive positive testimonials, recommendations and referrals, whilst disappointing ones will trigger a storm of complaints and result in business loss.

The shocking complacency and lack of drive to change these circumstances is surprising, as the new generations display an enormous sense for values, real mission and a desire to make a difference. They are a significant indication for the future highlighting what both employees and guests will expect. And yet too many people refuse to make changes. They prefer silent executors as opposed to proactive initiative taking team members.

It is imperative to trust employees, which will motivate them and empower them to go beyond their regular duties and excel in their responsibilities. I am not talking about blind trust, but the provision of  guidelines, parameters and a room to manoeuvre within.

  1. Trust
  2. Listen
  3. Let go
  4. Monitor and assist but don’t control
  5. Help when asked
  6. Ask for results and don’t impose your way of doing things
  7. Praise and reward
  8. Turn mistakes into learning lessons
  9. Be daring and take risks
  10. Make your team the hero

To create a sustainably successful company that understand the future traveller and the new demands of the workforce, it will require some true Visionaries that are able to let go of their egos, walk the talk and make a real difference. I truly think its not that hard and wholeheartedly belief that it will create amazingly positive results. I am confident that organisations who listen and trust their teams, will find that the new generation has both the drive and ambition to create new hospitality experiences that will deliver great returns.


About Author

A German National and hotel nomad, Dirk gathered experience across the globe in Europe, UK, USA, Australia and Asia, ​creating lifestyle concepts for hotels and restaurants, running lifestyle hotels, and holding Chief Operating Officer, Operational Vice President, Hotel General Manager, Regional Marketing and Sales positions for international and local properties and chains.

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